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When it came to creating the effects of the original trilogy, there was no quick and easy path.
Creative wisdom says that unless you’re willing to invest the necessary amount of enthusiasm and labor into your project, then you might as well walk away and never look back.
It was an enraptured gaze at concept artist Ralph McQuarrie’s famous painting of C-3PO that drew Anthony Daniels to the role, stirred by the droid’s vulnerable humanity juxtaposed against a desolate alien landscape. Improvements to the costume in Return of the Jedi, by that time constructed of lighter elements, failed to solve another lingering issue Daniels faced when performing. Who’d have thought that operating one of the galaxy’s most slothful, hedonistic gangsters would take a whole lot of work?
Within the tail, utilizing a control lever and a system of pedals was Mike Edmonds, whose small stature was ideal for remaining inconspicuous. Before the prominence of CGI in cinema, stop motion photography was a longstanding visual effects method pioneered by European filmmaker Vladislav Starevich, then in America by Willis O’Brien and, years later, his protege Ray Harryhausen. Audiences doubtless wondered if Lucas had hired a team of geneticists upon seeing the woolly mammoth-bighorn sheep hybrid known as the bantha. By now it’s evident that Star Wars’ wardrobe was uncomfortable for both man and beast — and for the extras that played the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, being a part of an epic film saga nearly didn’t reconcile having to wear stifling fur suits. Steven Romano is a writer, a geek culture enthusiast and, above all, a longtime fan of the galaxy far, far away. Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Available in Darth Vader, Anakin, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan, or Yoda varities, these Star Wars Force FX Lightsabers feature "realistic lighting and sound effects." See it in action after the break. Features four motion sensor controlled sound effects, Power-up, idle hum, clash, and power-down. There are often millions of unique ways of arranging and designing type which can only be limited by an individual’s imagination. For those interested, we’ve combed many sources online to gather some of the best Photoshop text effects tutorials to give all of you a head-start. The iconic work in Star Wars would not have been possible without the geniuses who navigated the technology needed to create the film. Sign up below to get the latest from Creative Bloq, plus exclusive special offers, direct to your inbox! Creative Bloq is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Remember that you can download your licenses whenever you want in the Downloads section of your profile.
Five films are nominated for an Academy Award in the “Visual Effects” category this year, and they each offer a nice look at the amazing tricks filmmakers and their effects teams can pull off on the big screen. Previously, we explored the breathtaking visual magic of outer-space thriller Gravity, the technology that brought a dragon to life in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the task of animating an army of automated suits of armor in Iron Man 3, and the trouble with trains in The Lone Ranger. Not content to simply build a Jetsons-style city in the clouds and call it a day, the ILM team designed the San Francisco of 2259 using a mix of urban planning and architectural theory, as well as a healthy dose of forward-thinking.
It was particularly tricky, according to ILM’s co-visual effects supervisor Pat Tubach, to predict how advancements like flying cars would affect the city and the layout of the landscape and architecture.
Speaking to FX Guide, Tubach – a San Francisco resident himself – called the project “a big thrill” for both himself and his local colleagues.
The ILM team designed the San Francisco of 2259 using a mix of urban planning and architectural theory. Coming up with a vision for San Francisco in 2259 would prove to be the easy part, however, as the ILM team was then tasked with creating a fully 3-D model of the city that could be used in both the early scenes occurring around Starfleet Headquarters and the final, explosive sequence that would wreak havoc on the city. The level of detail put into the city made its destruction in the last act of the film that much more devastating, and raised the level of difficulty for the film’s grand finale.


The destruction in the scene is, put it mildly, pretty intense – and the creating the scene may have been even more so. The final product of their efforts was an epic, intense sequence that spanned only a short period in the film, but had a lasting effect on both the futuristic version of San Francisco and ILM’s approach to handling these types of sequences in future projects. This plug-in for Adobe After Effects simulates star lens filters (also known as cross screen filters) - it adds star streaks to lights and highlights.
This makes sense when using the cutoff feature, which has the side effect of dimming down the star streaks.
The contents of this site are protected by copyright laws and may not be reproduced without permission. According to a 1983 People interview, attempting to maneuver in the suit felt like “a cross between a crippled person and a baby,” an understandable complaint for someone skilled in pantomime, where the fluidity of movement is essential.
Designed by visual effects supervisor Phil Tippett at Industrial Light & Magic and its construction overseen by makeup department lead Stuart Freeborn, the Jabba the Hutt puppet was a massive undertaking matching the scale and complexity of any Jim Henson creation at the time. The AT-ATs, what with their diverse mechanisms and weaponry, definitely required far more precision to manage than the tauntaun. Yet like all of Star Wars’ special effects, the secret behind the creature’s existence was less scientific abomination and more surprisingly simple. A visually appealing text that is both original and creative draws attention and leaves a deep impression on anyone who sees it. You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details without your permission.
In recognition of these five films and one of our favorite Oscar categories, we’re putting the spotlight on one “Visual Effects” nominee each day leading up to Sunday’s broadcast and taking a closer look at what made them stand out. Now we look at the process of building the San Francisco cityscape of 2259 for Star Trek Into Darkness, and the techniques used to bring it crashing to the ground in the film’s final act. Vengeance is a fantastic sequence for several reasons, with the first and foremost being the amount of detail that ILM put into both the creation of the San Francisco cityscape in the year 2259 and the city’s destruction. A few local landmarks – like the Transamerica Pyramid – were also included to keep everything rooted in (potential) reality and provide some frame of reference for the scale of the city’s growth over the next two centuries.
The 3-D modeling was especially important for the scenes featuring Spock (Zachary Quinto) and John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) atop a barge as it flies through the city, according to ILM CG Environment Supervisor Barry Williams. Vengeance comes hurtling out of the space on a collision course with Starfleet Headquarters, giving John Harrison one final chance for vengeance on the organization that he believes has wronged him. After all, when it comes to disaster scenes, the more epic the destruction, the greater the testament to the creative talents of the team involved. It was clear during Star Wars’ early stages that Lucas intended it to be an unparalleled experience of onscreen magic, and in order to achieve such verisimilitude, meticulous attention was poured into its visual effects (perish the thought that someone sees the strings and shatter the illusion).
Filming A New Hope’s Tatooine scenes in California’s Death Valley and in Tunisia was an unforgiving ordeal for the cast and crew, especially for anyone wearing a piecemeal suit of aluminum, brass, and plastic over a black body glove (not exactly breathable materials). All things considered, having your character’s face slapped on cereal boxes across America makes for some nice light at the end of an otherwise long tunnel. In the short documentary Life Inside Jabba the Hutt by filmmaker Jamie Benning, co-puppeteer Toby Philpott opened up on the amount of physical effort and ingenuity that went into manipulating Jabba.
Regardless, said Philpott, they were essentially flying blind, straining to keep in coordination and not hit any actors or crew members by accident. By adding motion blur to every frame, the animation sequence was smoothened and devoid of the rigidity inherent in stop-motion effects. In order to facilitate this procedure, a special stage with hatches was constructed to allow the animation team to prairie-dog between shots and tinker with the models. Thanks to the internet, anyone who is interested in the art of typography can conveniently pick up relevant skills from the numerous Photoshop tutorials online.
Considering three of his four Oscars were for VFX in the first three Star War films, and he's since added a bevy of awards and nominations including three Academy Scientific and Engineering Awards, it's difficult to imagine his career began with such humble beginnings.


Enterprise saving a colorful planet from destruction wrought by an overactive volcano, Abrams and the artists of visual effects studio Industrial Light and Magic offer up one fantastic sequence after another that takes the well-known cast of characters from one end of the universe to another. The black ship manages to take out a chunk of Alcatraz Island just before it makes impact with the city, and the ship’s momentum carries it further, bulldozing skyscrapers and countless other buildings as it skids to a halt. You can adjust parameters such as angle and size, while seeing the results updated in real time. Some effects were more arduous than others, but few compare to the following that were responsible for so much blood, sweat, tears, and aching muscles. Daniels even recalled a moment, in his interview for the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, when the costume’s left leg split and broke through the plastic on his foot, piercing his skin. Crammed into the Hutt’s cranium alongside him was Dave Barclay, the latter responsible for operating Jabba’s right arm and mouth as well as providing voicework for lip-syncing; Philpott handled the left arm, waggled the slime-encrusted tongue, and pivoted the head. This created a dimension of supposed realism in the tauntauns and AT-ATs, but the amount of work that went into making the magic possible was painstaking and time-consuming. Unlike her hominid co-stars who sweated through shootings with a smile, however, Mardji WAS NOT having any of it. The tool was able to instantly transform the motion data it was capturing into an image of what the characters and scene would look like in the final film.
Not only does design software like Adobe Photoshop simplifies things further with its ease of use and user-friendliness, it also provides users a variety of options and tools to create top-notch art pieces. And when they bring the action back to Earth for the film’s explosive finale, the result is a memorable sequence that features a massive starship crashing into downtown San Francisco, reducing large portions of the futuristic city to rubble. Optical realism was a primary concern and is achieved with advanced image processing algorithms.
The injury was minor and didn’t hinder his performance, but it goes without saying that it, compounded with the blistering heat, was unpleasant. The crew had plenty of trouble preventing her from removing the costume, likely stretching their patience to the limit (and eating into the production schedule). So while Sam Worthington and Zoe Zaldana romped around the set in black suits and funny-looking headgear (see video, below), director James Cameron could watch a monitor where blue Na’vi characters were performing the scene against the Pandora landscape. Mardji eventually managed to keep the bantha suit on, though her diva antics certainly left a sour taste in many a mouth. Building a reputation Richard Edlund Nothing gets done without credibility, and in Hollywood, it's one of the hardest things to establish.
And Maya was used as far back as 1997, in Titanic, to place virtual characters on top of the doomed ship as it sailed out of harbor. Fox was really paranoid about us because we were spending money and they had no understanding of what the hell we were doing." 2000-1 shot Early on Edlund called on Jerry Smith, a business agent at the local camera union, 659. The timing was good as the team had just finished building the system that would give more visual detail and greater depth of field. John Dykstra and I were showing him the equipment, and John was evangelising about motion control. He opens it up and it has all these wires, like barbershop sweepings, electronic spaghetti.
John was really worried that we weren't impressing them." The meeting did result in some very good advice. That is going to be your big problem.' That was really good advice so we wound up hiring [production staffer] Rose Duignan, [production coordinator] Mary Lind and a few other people.



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